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429th Friday Blog Roundup

We almost never watch a new television show from the beginning.  There are few series (maybe one?) that we’ve given a chance until it has been on the air for a few seasons.  Part of it is quality: we want to make sure a show has sticking power before we invest our energy in it.  The other thing is that we seem to rarely hear about a show until it hits its eighth season.  But we heard about The Americans before it aired and decided to watch the first episode.  We were interested enough in the FX show to endure the last 20 minutes of a Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz film beforehand.

The Americans didn’t disappoint.  I’m not a fan of seeing violence, but I immediately liked the characters and the plot device.  It’s set in DC in 1981.  It unfortunately looks NOTHING like the DC area in 1981.  But even with that distraction, we really enjoyed it.  Enough so that I put an alert on my calendar to remind me to watch FX on Wednesday nights.


I really need to discuss this one part of the premise, and since this isn’t a spoiler, I’ll throw it out there.  The idea is that the man and woman are KGB agents that have been taught to sound and move like Americans.  They came to America in 1965, pretending to be husband and wife, and built a life here, always working for the KGB.  It’s now 1981.  They live in suburbia.  They have two kids.  They’re spies.

The man would like to defect from Russia; leave behind his life as a KGB agent, make a deal with the CIA, and go into hiding.  The woman would never desert Russia and points out the flaw in the man’s plan: what would they tell the kids?  The kids have no idea their parents are Russian much less part of the KGB.  They have a whole fictional backstory they’ve been fed about their parent’s American upbringing.  To defect and go on the run would mean telling them that their parents aren’t really in love, aren’t really Americans, and that the kids are just props in their parents’ charade.

Except won’t that be the case when the kids are older?  At some point, isn’t the woman going to retire from the KGB and go back to mother Russia?  While she could orchestrate a disappearance in her old age, is having your mother mysteriously disappear that much easier on the psyche than finding out she’s a KGB agent?  Really, how does one handle dealing with the props when the props grow up?

Isn’t this an interesting idea?


A massive thank you again to everyone who has supported me with the release of “Nidah,” my first short story this week.  The people who have read it, first and foremost, plus everyone who has emailed or cheered me on.  The people who have Tweeted and Facebooked and Pinned and Stumbled and blogged and talked to friends about it.

As I said yesterday, I take that support also as a sign of trust, and I don’t take that trust lightly.  I never want to dishonour it, and I want you to know how much I’m touched by it.


And now the blogs…

But first, second helpings of the posts that appeared in the open comment thread last week.  In order to read the description before clicking over, please return to the open thread:

Okay, now my choices this week.

The Maybe Baby (Babies) has a post about how much telling other people about your child’s origins matter.  She’s not talking about close friends and family; she’s talking about the strangers you encounter for brief intervals of time on life’s path.  She’s talking about the person you get into a chat with at a conference or the salesperson at the store.  What do you owe them insofar as the whole story?  There is also an interesting discussion going on in the comment section so be sure to read both.

Inconceivable! has a post about the people who you think will step up and support, and the people who actually do.  It’s not always the people you expect.  It’s about our expectation of reactions, using The Queen as a jumping board to discussing the ideas people bring to how they think others should reaction.  Great post.

Waiting For Little Feet has a post about the reality of parenting a newborn vs. what she imagined before she found herself in that situation.  Going to give you a hint: it isn’t all cooing and sleepy snuggles.  I love her unpacking of the concept of “supposed to” and the additional pressure it places on an already overwhelming situation.  It’s an important read, especially because it’s difficult to sometimes find the truth so you can enter a situation with your eyes wide open.

Lastly, The Great Big IF has a very funny (and true) post about discussing babymaking with kids conceived via IVF.  You’ll need to pop over to read more.

The roundup to the Roundup: Did anyone else watch The Americans?  What do you think of the idea of breaking the news to the kids?  Thank you to everyone who gave me support this week with the short story, “Nidah.”  And lots of great posts to read.  So what did you find this week?  Please use a permalink to the blog post (written between January 25th and February 1st) and not the blog’s main url. Not understanding why I’m asking you what you found this week?  Read the original open thread post here.


1 Courtney { 02.01.13 at 9:56 am }

I love your picks this week, Mel! Thank you for the one from Waiting for Little Feet-as I’m currently pregnant after IF. I went ahead and added her blog to my daily reading list as encouragement as my little one arrives. I know that there are so many expectations placed upon us because of all that we went through…I’m so glad and proud that she was able to be honest and give me a real picture of what it’s like to have a newborn after infertility.

2 Chickenpig { 02.01.13 at 11:50 am }

I’m always on the look out for good TV watching. I will check out The Americans for sure!

I’ve never thought of breaking the news to the kids. I wouldn’t tell my kids that I got pregnant with them after say…a night boozing it up and a chance encounter in the back of my boyfriend’s Chevy. I think the circumstances around how a child is conceived are private. We don’t owe them everything, sometimes the parts about being husband and wife deserve to stay that way. I’ve never asked my mom about the truth of my conception, and I don’t want to know. Eeeew! 😉

3 a { 02.01.13 at 12:03 pm }

I have not watched The Americans…but if they’re so dedicated to the cause as to create children for a believeable front, why would they care what those children think? (In other words, I cannot suspend my disbelief that far – no one would have children for a cover story. Nonsense. Or, on the other hand, it’s not really much different than a one-night-stand where someone forgets the protection, or the protection fails. Animal urges first, feelings optional. I am not a good consumer of televised fiction, obviously. 🙂 )

Here’s my pick of the week:


4 lostintranslation { 02.01.13 at 12:26 pm }

Just read a beautiful post by Luna:

And how cool to see one of my own posts in the open thread! (Thanks St Elsewhere!). Now off to read some of the others…

5 Her Royal Fabulousness { 02.01.13 at 1:09 pm }

Thank you SO much for including my post, Mel. It means more than you know.

6 m. { 02.01.13 at 1:23 pm }

Hey, that’s ME up there. Thank you, Mel. I’ve really appreciated the comment section on that one as well.

And so many of the other picks feel so timely to me this week as well. Adding a few more ladies/blogs to the Reader today. Thanks!

7 Shauna { 02.01.13 at 6:38 pm }

I stumbled upon your blog from another blog and I clicked on it because I saw the post was about Americans. I watched it last night and I think I’m tuning in. But my take is that the man is genuinely in love with his wife, kids, and life in America, while she is still in KGB mode. I wonder if she really even loves the kids.

But the show is definitely not for the weak. I had my teenager in the room watching because I didn’t realize how bad it would be. But there were some parts I had to tell him to close his eyes or fast forward. I forgot how bad FX was, what, with being land of Nip Tuck not so long ago.

8 knottedfingers { 02.01.13 at 10:51 pm }

I always feel weird posting my own links but some ladies have told me that my post really helped them.

Overcoming Guilt and Embracing Joy



“Life is so much more then a lot of people let themselves experience.”

9 Elizabeth { 02.02.13 at 8:09 am }

Esperanza’s post on experiencing acceptance in waves really moved me:

10 Tracey @ La Belette Rouge { 02.02.13 at 11:39 am }

I haven’t tuned into the Americans. The previews made me think this was inspired by Homeland’s success. If it is anything like Homeland I would love it.
Thanks for linking to my post. But for some reason the link isn’t working. Here it is: http://www.labeletterouge.com/2013/01/is-the-unlived-life-worth-examining.html

11 Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse { 02.02.13 at 1:50 pm }
12 yo-yo-mama { 02.02.13 at 3:27 pm }

TRYING to find the humor on Cycle Day 3 of Stims. This is the VERY last cycle that I “have in me”….but it doesn’t make it suck any less!

13 Shelby { 02.04.13 at 11:49 pm }

Awww, shucks. Thanks for the blog nod! I’m just getting around to catching up with my reader from late last week and I’m really just getting around to getting back into the blogging swing of things. It’s nice to be back!

14 Lori Lavender Luz { 02.05.13 at 9:34 am }

We revisit this periodically….good discussion.

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